In today’s competitive business landscape, exceptional customer service has become a critical differentiator for organisations, and one of the most impactful factors for profitability. In fact, a McKinsey & Co. report from Q1 2023 showed that customer experience leaders across all industries have 2X greater revenue growth than their peers (which has remained consistent since 2016).
Contact centres play a vital role in delivering outstanding customer experiences by being the frontline of customer communication. By implementing proven customer service strategies, contact centres can build strong customer relationships, enhance brand loyalty, and drive business growth. Today, we explore six proven customer service strategies that contact centres can implement in advance of next year to provide exceptional support to their customers and drive business growth.
Customers appreciate personalised experiences that make them feel valued. Contact centres can leverage technology to gather customer data and create personalised interactions. By using customer relationship management (CRM) systems, agents can access customer information quickly, enabling them to address concerns efficiently. But, of course, personalisation extends way beyond addressing customers by their names; it involves understanding their preferences, purchase history, and previous interactions to offer tailored solutions.
By incorporating personalisation into their customer service, contact centres can significantly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Data and context are the vital elements to achieve this. Without them, you don’t have the necessary information to architect tailored journeys for each customer. By leveraging a tool that consolidates historical legacy data, and new context, into BI tools like Tableau or Power BI, you can gather insight into the previous interactions and trends, and from there determine the best route forward for your future interactions with said customer.
Furthermore, storing this additional rich context in your CRM is key, as then your customer service agents can always find the information they require, right when they need it.
2. Omnichannel Support
In today’s digital age, customers expect seamless experiences across various communication channels. Contact centres should embrace an omnichannel approach that integrates phone, email, live chat, social media, and other communications platforms. By providing consistent support across multiple channels, contact centres can cater to customers’ preferences and ensure they can interact through their preferred medium. But it doesn’t just encompass the cross-channel availability – collecting data across all these channels and consolidating it is also key.
Ultimately, omnichannel support and interaction recording enables customer service agents to maintain context across interactions, delivering a more efficient and personalised service. So, this strategy perfectly intertwines with number 1!
3. Empowered and Well-Trained Agents
The frontline agents in contact centres play a crucial role in delivering exceptional customer service. Empowering agents with the right tools, knowledge, and authority enables them to resolve issues effectively. Contact centres should invest in comprehensive training programmes to equip agents with product knowledge, problem-solving skills, and effective communication techniques, as well as exceptional quality assurance (QA) management to ensure that the agents who need support and guidance are receiving it.
Ongoing training and coaching sessions ensure that agents stay updated on the latest industry trends, enhancing their ability to provide high-quality service. It also ensures that they understand the latest industry best practices for customer interactions, like starting the call with 30 seconds of small talk or closing the conversation by stating a clear action. By nurturing a positive and supportive work environment, contact centres can boost agent morale, leading to improved customer interactions. A happier agent makes a better call, which in turn, keeps the customer on the other end of the phone happy.
Again though, data is absolutely key to achieving this. Floor managers and QA managers should be measuring the quality of a random sample of every agent’s interactions each week. This ensures that the quality of interactions maintains a stagnant or improved level, and that if an agent is in need of support or training, it can be addressed faster before CSAT levels decrease.
4. Proactive Communication
Contact centres can go the extra mile by implementing proactive communication strategies. Rather than waiting for customers to reach out with issues, contact centres can reach out to customers first. Proactive communication involves providing timely updates, sharing relevant information, and offering assistance before customers even realise they need it.
By being proactive, contact centres can address potential concerns, prevent escalations, and build trust with customers, resulting in enhanced CSAT and loyalty.
To do this, contact centres need to understand the full context of each customer’s historic and current interactions. Like strategy number 1, data is key. Collecting, storing and analysing customer data at a micro level opens opportunities to determine gaps and problems before they occur. Analysing this data at a macro level can provide market context for the overarching business direction, as well as understanding potential larger measures that could be put in place to solve the wider-spread problems. For example, how customers coped best during the Covid-19 pandemic when they were struggling for money, and how the customer interactions ensured that the situation was as positive and productive as possible. This type of macro insight could then proactively be rolled out as a solution to support customers that might be going through similar issues in the future.
5. Continuous Feedback & Improvement
Contact centres should establish a feedback loop to gather insights from customers and agents alike.
Customer feedback surveys, post-interaction surveys, and social media monitoring can provide valuable information about customer experiences. Automating this type of feedback with IVR and email is even better, as it unlocks the ability to establish continuous feedback without the administrative burden. By implementing highly effective CSAT surveys either as part of random sampling, or in the form of a post-call survey, you capture the customer perspective on the service that you are providing, with transparency and honesty. This is one of the most effective ways of measuring CSAT as the data is captured in the moment when the experience is fresh in the customers’ mind.
Agents’ feedback and suggestions can also contribute to process improvements and identify training needs. Linking this with strategy number 3 in this article means you can always optimise your customer interactions.
By analysing feedback data, contact centres can identify pain points, uncover trends, and make data-driven decisions to enhance customer service operations continually.
6. Embracing AI and Automation
The integration of AI and automation technologies can revolutionise customer service in contact centres.
AI learning can support the processing and handling of routine enquiries, providing quick and accurate responses while freeing up agents’ time for more complex issues. Natural Language Processing (NLP) enables agents to understand queries from different languages, from different cultures, in faster time through automated research and information consolidation.
Automation can also streamline workflows, reducing manual efforts and enabling agents to focus on value-added tasks. However, it’s crucial to find the right balance between AI-driven automation and human touch to maintain personalised customer experiences. We wrote a blog recently about Alibaba’s drastic decision to roll out an AI chatbot across its services, which we think is a mistake. Customer service requires human touch – it shouldn’t be automated because it makes customers feel like they aren’t valued enough to have the time of a person.
How to implement these strategies in 2024
It’s all well and good listing these proven customer service strategies for contact centres but applying them is something altogether different. Personalisation, omnichannel support, empowered agents, proactive communication, continuous feedback, and embracing AI and automation are all key pillars of an effective customer service approach – but how can you apply them now? Liquid Voice has the solution.
We provide advanced omnichannel interaction recording and analytics for contact centres and customer service agents alike. We help you understand the full context and hear the full picture by capturing and analysing rich customer data, ranging from call and live chat interactions through to body-worn camera footage and contextual data, so that you’re able to immediately identify problem areas and gain valuable business insight. Our ability to clean toxic legacy data and consolidate it into a modern, secure repository with access controls, means you can track longer-term trends across your recent interactions and historic data.
If your contact centre is looking to level up customer service with improved customer understanding, and insight access, get in touch today! We’ll be happy to help you hear the full picture.